White Sox lefty Carlos Rodón throws no-hitter, capping remarkable comeback
By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
It was the type of magical moment that only baseball can deliver on a random Wednesday in April.
Carlos Rodón threw the 308th no-hitter in Major League Baseball history, flirting with a perfect game for 8 1/3 innings and only (barely!) hitting one batter as the Chicago White Sox blanked the Cleveland Indians 8-0.
What a story.
What a journey.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Rodón has always been plagued by the injury bug. He reached the big leagues less than a full year after being drafted and showed flashes of his dominant potential in 2015 and 2016.
From there, though, the injuries started piling up. Eventually, that led the White Sox to give up on him.
This past offseason, Rodón was non-tendered by the South Siders. Essentially, that means Chicago decided not to give him a contract and let him test free agency.
As it was written in Chicago the following day, "Carlos Rodón is no longer part of the White Sox pitching plan, bringing an end to the attempt to turn the 2014 first-round pick into the ace of the South Side staff."
Well, then the Sox re-signed him. And this … this isn’t a sob story.
This is about Wednesday night.
It was a cold night at Guaranteed Rate Field, but Rodón was consistently hitting the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball all night. With every inning, you could feel the momentum building as he went batter by batter logging outs.
By the time the seventh inning came around, it seemed that all eyes in the baseball world were locked in on Rodón.
He struck out Amed Rosario to end the eighth, and by that point, I was in full freak-out mode. I was shaking. There hasn’t been a perfect game in Major League Baseball since Felix Hernandez threw one in 2012.
On this night, Rodón headed to the ninth perfect.
He stepped out of the dugout with everyone watching. (Everyone except for me, that is, as I was pacing back and forth in my room, unable to look.) My only actual thought was about the defenders and how nervous they must've been in that moment.
After recording one out in the ninth, Rodón's slider hit Roberto Pérez in the foot, and the perfect game came to an end.
A no-hitter, however, was still on the table.
Rodón proceeded to strike out the next batter and then got a ground ball to third base to end it. His name goes in the record books with the 20th no-hitter in White Sox history and the second in MLB in less than a week.
The most impressive part of Rodón's performance was that he was able to bounce back for those last two outs after giving up a perfect game on a pitch that barely caught the toe of Pérez.
But he did. He locked back in and did it.
After everything he has been through. After his fastball dropping to 91 mph on the radar gun. After Tommy John surgery. After his team giving up on him.
He did it.
In the ninth inning Wednesday, Rodón was pumping 99 mph heat past batters. The adrenaline, the emotion, the competitor in him, it all came through in this moment.
He was absolutely dominant.
"I can’t believe it. I can’t," he said to begin his postgame interview.
His has been quite the journey. A compelling one. One we should all find ourselves rooting for.
On Wednesday, Carlos Rodón entered his name into history.
Hats off to you, No. 55.
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Ben Verlander spent five years in the Detroit Tigers organization. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Verly32.